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Where Comedy and Nostalgia Collide: 6 Timeless Egyptian Plays

May 1, 2023

Spanning over decades, Egyptian masraheyat (theater plays) are a staple of Egyptian culture. Not only do the classic masraheryat boast legacies of remarkable achievements, but they also have stood the test of time—remaining timeless classics that are still re-watched until the present day.

The art of theater has been etched in Egypt’s history since the French campaign in 1789, and almost a century later, Khedive Ismail established the French Comedy Theatre and the Opera House as part of celebrations he had prepared on the occasion of opening the Suez Canal in 1989.

In the 1960s and 70s, comedy theater began to rise in popularity, where Egyptian audiences started attending plays by Adel Imam and Mohamed Sobhi. From this point forward, some of Egypt’s timeless plays, such as Madrasset El Moshaghbeen (The School of Troublemakers, 1973), Al Motazawegoon (The Married Couples, 1978), and many others began to emerge.

Still widely adored by Egyptians today—here are some Egyptian masraheyat to watch for a good laugh.

Madrasset El Moshaghbeen (The School of Troublemakers, 1973)
This classic play follows a group of notoriously mischievous students—who have been in the same class for 14 years—until they stumble upon a teacher who knows how to deal with their trouble. Madrasset El Moshaghbeen (The School of Mischief) stars Soheir El-Bably, Adel Emam, Saeed Saleh, Younis Shalaby, Ahmad Zaki, and Hasan Mustafa.

Shahid Mashafsh Haga (The Witness Who Saw Nothing, 1976)
When a murder takes place in his building, Sarhan Abdel Basir (played by Adel Emam) is forced to testify in court. The comedy play Shahid Mashafsh Haga (The Witness Who Saw Nothing) stars Adel Emam, Omar Hariri, and Nahed Gabr.

Al Motazawegoon (The Married Couples, 1978)
Al Motazwegoon is an Egyptian comedy play that depicts the issues and economic challenges that married couples face in Egypt. The production stars Samir Ghanem, Sherine, and George Sydhom.

El Eyal Kebret (No Longer Kids, 1979)
One of the most popular Egyptian plays, El Eyal Kebret follows a group of mischievous youths as they try to stop their father from escaping with a woman he is having an affair with.

The play stars Karima Mokhtar, Nadia Shoukry, Hassan Mustafs, Ahmed Zaki, Saeed Saleh, and Yunis Shalaby.

Sok Ala Banatak (Lock Your Girls In, 1980)
Sok Ala Banatak follows the story of a father of three young sisters, who tries to pressure them into traditional marriage, while they rebel and pursue their own desired relationship. The play stars Fouad el-Mohandes, Sherihan, Sanaa Younis, Ahmed Rateb, and Mohsen Mohieeldin.

Keda Okay (2003)
Starring Ahmed El Sakka, Mona Zaki, Sherif Mounir, Yasmine Abdelaziz, and Hani Ramzy—who were then-rising actors—Keda Okay explores love and relationships through young people.

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